· London
First edition: Sweet story of an orphaned lad who, with the support of a parson's daughter and a workhouse schoolmistress, steadily improves his life through his dedication to caring for old man Darwin's precious "house-doves," a.k.a. tumbler pigeons. Randolph Caldecott illustrated the text with a total of 17 images: six delightful full-page country scenes (including the color-printed frontispiece) and a number of in-text vignettes, printed in sepia to match the text. Ewing and Caldecott had previously collaborated on the well-received Jackanapes, and the present work was likewise beloved by both children and critics, with the Ecclesiastical Gazette calling it "one of the most charming stories we have met with for years."
Provenance: From the children's book collection of Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Desmarais, Randolph Caldecott: His Books and Illustrations for Young Readers, 21; Finlay, Randolph Caldecott, p. 27; NSTC 0235860. Publisher's color-printed paper–covered boards; moderately worn and darkened overall, joints and extremities rubbed, back cover dust-soiled. Front free endpaper with early pencilled inscription, back pastedown with label as above. Endpapers with offsetting; half-title with tear from lower margin. => A nice example of both the author's and the artist's accomplishments. (Inventory #: 40704)